Comfort Food That’s Good For You!

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Comfort Food That’s Good For You!



By Heidi Ochsner, MS RD



After the holiday season my digestive tract is ready for a break and my liver needs some love. Unfortunately, it’s cold and wet outside so I really don’t feel like raw salad and a piece of fruit. What’s a health lover to do? Make a big crock pot full of Kitchari. It’s the traditional ayurvedic detox meal that sooths the liver and lights your digestive flame!


Ayurveda is a Hindu system of traditional medicine that believes the digestive tract is central to all healing and I couldn’t agree more. Kitchari, which means mixture, is a blend of mung beans and rice. This easily digestible porridge provides restorative nourishment allowing the body to heal and build vitality. The dal and rice are blended with anti-inflammatory spices that increase the digestive fire and often has seasonal vegetables added as well. Traditionally, kitchari is used for detoxification and to balance all three doshas: vata, kapha, and pitta. There are countless versions of this Indian comfort food so you can use this recipe as-is or change it to fit your own personal style.




1 cup mung dal (split mung beans)
¾ cup basmati rice
3 Tbs ghee (or pastured butter)
3 tsp mustard seeds
2 tsp coriander
1 tsp tumeric
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp cumin
½ tsp cardamom
½ tsp pepper
½ tsp clove powder
2 Tbs ginger, peeled and chopped
3 Tbs shredded coconut
6 cups filtered water
2-3 inch piece of kombu
2 cups seasonal vegetables (i.e. squash, sweet potato, carrot, zuchinni, cauliflower, burdock root etc…)
sea salt to taste
Handful fresh cilantro leaves

  1. Rinse mung beans and rice then cover with water and soak for several hours. (If you do not have time to soak you can just cook them longer)
  2. In a large pot add ghee and sauté seeds until they pop and then add the other spices, chopped ginger and shredded coconut and sauté another 2 minutes.
  3. Drain the water from the beans and rice and add them to the ghee and spice mixture. Mix them together coating well.
  4. Add the 6 cups fresh water and the piece of kombu. Bring to a boil then turn down to low heat cover and cook until soft, about 20-30 minutes.
  5. Cut seasonal vegetables into small cubes and add to the pot cooking for another 10 minutes or until soft. Do not stir too much or you will get a mush.
  6. Salt to taste and garnish with cilantro

Recipe by Heidi Ochsner MS, RD 2012